EU warns of online gambling "explosion"

12 March 2009

STRASBOURG, France -- As reported by The Parliament: "MEPs in Strasbourg have endorsed a report which effectively upholds the existing right of member states to control gambling and sports betting.

"The outcome comes as a setback to those who are pressing for EU-wide liberalisation of the gambling industry.

"Deputies overwhelmingly voted in favour of an own-initiative report by Danish Socialist member Christel Schaldemose on the 'integrity' of online gambling.

"Some 544 voted in favour of her report with 36 against and 66 abstentions.

"An alternative report, supported by UK centre-right MEP Malcolm Harbour, argued that internal market rules should apply to gambling activities but was heavily defeated.

"He reacted by saying parliament had 'missed an opportunity' for a more open gambling market, adding, 'Several member states continue to have their heads in the sand, failing to recognise the realities of a dynamic gambling market.'

"He said the situation in the UK 'has proved how a liberalised, but effectively regulated market, can achieve both a high level of consumer protection and integrity in online gambling.'

"...Schaldemose said there had been an 'explosion' in online gambling and was among those members who called for action on the €4bn internet gambling market in order to protect young people and prevent fraud..."

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